During the season of Advent, I am going to do something new on the blog. I am going to try my best to offer a daily reflection here as we journey through this season together. To help frame the devotions I have been using hashtags designed by a group with the Episcopalian church. For example, the hashtag assigned for today was #Shaken.
The imagery of a “Peaceful Kingdom” like that described in Isaiah 11 is so beautiful and compelling. Consider particularly Isaiah 11:1-10. Verses 6 and 7 say, “The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall like down together; and the lon shall eat straw like the ox.”
Boy, how we still do not live in the world described in this passage. It’s hard to imagine this with images of Ferguson, Missouri and Staten Island in New York on my mind. It’s hard to be anything but shaken by the constant news of division, fear, racism, misunderstanding, abuse of power (or at least the perceptions thereof), etc. Rev. Dr. David Lose reflected on this very helpfully in his post, “Can We Talk about Ferguson?”
Lose writes about the difficulty of such conversations. Lose asks:
“Might we, for instance, talk with each other in order to try to appreciate the various positions people hold with a goal not first of persuasion but of understanding? I sometimes think that part of what makes these kinds of conversations so difficult is that precisely because people feel strongly about them we feel it’s a contest, if not a conquest, and that the goal is to make people see and accept our point of view (or the fear that others think that way about us).”
I think Dr. Lose is quite right. The reality is that we need to be engaged in these difficult but important conversations and reflections. Lose relates,
“Trust me, I know that conversations – even conversations that seek understanding rather than immediate resolution – can be difficult. But they are possible, even crucial. And we have something to offer – hope, mutual respect, and the love we know in Christ. Moreover, we believe that the promise we sing that God will bring peace to earth and good will to all isn’t only an end-time promise but one that God keeps in part through the holy, though also difficult, conversations we have about things that matter.”
As you think about Isaiah 11, and read Dr. Lose’s post in its entirety, what comes to mind for you? How do these events (and their continuance in our world) shake us and lead us to change and act? How might the imagery of Isaiah 11 give us hope and direction?
Image Credit: Edward Hicks’ “The Peaceable Kingdom”